Culture Ministers, Jandák (left) and Tóth, visit the new SND.
"We're in the European Union, the third millennium," said Slovak minister Tóth. "If Slovakia wants to be a full-fledged member of the community, it must open itself to new thoughts and opinions."
And just like other experts, Tóth explained, artists and athletes receive opportunities for development in other countries. He specifically cited the example of an English football club led by a Swiss coach, saying Slovakia "should also offer opportunities to whoever can help to develop culture here".
"The Slovak National Theatre aims to be recognised throughout Europe. Therefore, it's in our interest to have it led by a real expert [regardless of their nationality]," Tóth spokesperson Martina Pavlíková told The Slovak Spectator.
Tóth also said he would like to name one Czech independent expert to the SND council that will decide on the new director.
The Slovak Ministry of Culture has described this international tender as a "normal and systematic" step, especially considering the strong ties between the two countries.
The Czech Republic is currently inviting Slovaks to apply for the post of director at the Prague Theatre Institute. "The theatre has long been a joint venture and there are very qualified people in both countries," Czech minister Jandák said.
Peter Toperczer, chancellor of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague since 1999, is an example of a Slovak heading a national Czech institution, the Slovak Culture Ministry noted.
The Slovak and Czech culture ministers meet once a month. This time, they visited the new Slovak National Theatre building, which should open in September or October, preferably on October 28, the day the joint state of Czechoslovakia was founded, with an event prepared by both countries.
Tóth is planning to go to the Czech Republic on February 18 to close the Days of Slovak Culture in České Budějovice. In March, the two ministries will partake in an exchange of local literature between Bratislava's University Library and Prague's National Library. Both sides will allocate around Sk550,000 (€14,470) for the project.
- Zuzana Habšudová